The International Energy Agency has claimed that a string of the right energy efficiency policies implemented around the globe could, on its own, result in the peaking of greenhouse gas emissions followed quickly by a global decline even as the global economy doubles.

Writing in a report earlier this month, entitled Energy Efficiency 2018, the International Energy Agency (IEA) examined the global opportunities for improving energy efficiency through to 2040 and found that gains in energy efficiency would allow the world’s economies to extract twice as much economic value from the energy it produces and uses than it does today. Specifically, the IEA claims that such a move would reduce energy bills for consumers by more than $500 billion per year, decrease energy imports, and reduce air pollution in cities.

Currently, however, there is a battle going on between explosive increasing energy demand and steadily increasing energy efficiency. According to the report, global energy demand grew by 2% in 2017 after two years of low growth, while global energy intensity only fell by 1.7%, the smallest annual improvement this decade. But the report is quick to note that “demand would be much higher if not for progress on energy efficiency.” Specifically, according to the IEA, improvements in energy efficiency in the world’s major economies since 2000 have “offset more than one-third of the increase in energy-using activities.” Globally, improvements in energy efficiency since 2000 have offset 12% of energy use.

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